Since North Korean diplomats and and embassies self-finance their operations (i.e. they don’t get any funds or salaries from back home to run the pace) I would suspect that the word “aid” is not really the right word. I suspect it is more of an “investment”.
North Korea has promised to give the East African island territory of Zanzibar more than $1 million in aid to help its agricultural sector, Chinese state media reported Tuesday.
Soon Chun Lee, North Korea’s ambassador to Tanzania, made the pledge when he met Zanzibari President Aman Abeid Karume in Zanzibar, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Starting from early next year, North Korea will finance water projects and mango reservation projects in the isles, Xinhua reported, adding that the country will also dispatch agricultural experts to the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Karume expressed his thanks for North Korea’s “assistance in boosting the agricultural development of the isles,” Xinhua said.
The promise of aid comes as North Korea faces a shortfall of food this year that will be at least 500,000 tons, Jean-Pierre de Margerie, the World Food Program’s North Korea country director, told Kyodo News on Tuesday. That amount of food is worth at least $100 million.
De Margerie added that the food shortage in North Korea could be even worse next year, reaching 1 million tons. In a country that produces about 5.3 million tons of food a year, that is a shortfall of nearly 20 percent.
North Korea, which experienced a famine in the 1990s, has been fed in recent years by multilateral aid given through the WFP and direct bilateral assistance from China and South Korea.
But food shipments through these channels decreased this year, in part because the North Korean government told the WFP that the emergency food crisis was over and so the U.N. body should scale back its operations, said de Margerie.
“We estimate that 6 million people need food assistance in the country, and because aid has not come this year, lots of people did not have enough to eat. Lots of vulnerable regions cannot meet their basic food needs,” he added.
According to the World Bank, Zanzibar, which has a political union with Tanzania, is one of the world’s poorest territories.